Spurs fans were hoping for a bounce-back win against an up-and-coming Utah squad that is playing well above what their poor record indicates. Instead, fans were treated to another disheartening loss where the Spurs were out-athleticized (you know what I mean) and out-worked on their way to their 22nd loss of the season.
The Spurs fared a little better in the first half of this one (40 points) than the second-half Blazers (33 points) did in their loss to the Jazz on Friday night but the Jazz led at intermission by seven behind a good defensive effort and good shooting. The Spurs committed 12 turnovers to Utah's six and were outrebounded by six, helped by a whopping nine offensive boards.
The third quarter started out like so many third quarters for the Spurs this season and the Jazz quickly jumped out to a 14-point lead that eventually became 16 before the Spurs closed the quarter with a nice run to trim the deficit to nine going into the final period. These third quarters are maddening. What is the deal?
The Spurs were held scoreless for the first 3:40 of the fourth while the Jazz extended their lead to 13, which proved to be plenty to give Utah their 21st win of the season.
Utah is young, talented and looks poised to quickly bring winning ball back to Salt Lake City. That frontcourt of Favors and Gobert is beastly, Hayward's contract looks like a bargain and that's plenty to build around. Add all of the potential they have on the roster and I bet it's fun to be a Utah fan right now. Their future looks bright.
Your Spurs fall to 34-22 on the year and a troubling 2-4 on the Rodeo Road Trip. Fingers crossed for a strong finish before the return to the River City but we've seen nothing to suggest that will be the case. Spurs fans, hang on to that hope that the good guys can find a quick-acting salve in time for the second season. There's still time with 26 games left to be played, but the Spurs won't have the luxury of finding their feet in the first round like last season. They'll need a fix and they'll need it fast.
- Rudy Gobert and his 9'7" standing reach affected so many more shots than his three blocks would lead you to believe. He's a great inside presence and at just 22 will bother thousands more shots.
- 5-of-19: What the Spurs shot from deep. They didn't get many good looks with the Jazz D doing a solid job all night, but the good looks they did get didn't go down. If you take out Boris Diaw's 3-for-4 night, the rest of SA was an unbelievably bad 2-for-15. It's rough when every player on the roster, except for TP and his spot-up corner-threes, is shooting the ball worse from deep than last season. Is there a fix?
- Utah is the best offensive rebounding team in the league and the Spurs are the fourth best defensive rebounding team. SA held the Jazz to just three second-half second-chances, but giving up 12 for the game is still disappointing.
- Tim Duncan finished with 14-10 on 50% shooting and added three blocks. Not a spectacular game for Tim but it added one more wasted good effort to the tally in a season that's seen more than a few. It was fun to watch him take on Gobert down low, which isn't an easy task by any stretch, and you can't ask for more from the vet. At one point in the game the camera was fixed on Duncan as the teams took the floor out of a timeout and Big Fun looked to try to rally the troops with some chest pats and what I'd assume were encouraging words. It was kind of hard to watch - the aging stud trying to inspire his underperforming teammates, trying to shake the doubt that has seemed to creep into the team. He's still so good at so many things and it's saddening to watch the rest of the team struggle around him. I worry that a poor showing in the playoffs will result in him hanging 'em up, and that's a damn shame because it looks like he could still be an elite defensive anchor and competent offensive piece for three or four more years.
- Manu Ginobili is really having a tough time getting his shot to fall. We all love Gino, and I don't know about you guys, but it's tough for me to watch. 0-for-4 from deep and 2-for-4 from the line. Oof.
- Tony Parker: Man...
- Recently-appointed sixth-man Trey Burke was great for my fantasy team. His 23 points were not great for the Spurs. That little dude had it going on Monday night. He was good in his last couple of outings and it looks like his new role suits him.
The Spurs get a one day break before taking on the Blazers in the fourth and final contest between these two teams for the season. The Blazers have a 2-1 series lead for the season and are currently the only team in the league that has an all-time winning record (78-77) against the Silver and Black. The Spurs can re-knot the series with a W. After the Blazers the Spurs get another day off and then finish the RRT with a BABA at Sacramento and Phoenix.